The Clown [Deluxe Edition]

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Huey
The Clown was Charles Mingus' second masterpiece in a row, upping the already intense emotional commitment of Pithecanthropus Erectus and burning with righteous anger and frustration. With Pithecanthropus, Mingus displayed a gift for airtight, focused arrangements that nonetheless allowed his players great freedom to add to the established mood of each piece. The Clown refines and heightens that gift; instead of just writing heads that provide launch points for solos, Mingus tries to evoke something specific with every piece, and even his most impressionistic forays have a strong storytelling quality. In fact, The Clown's title cut makes that explicit with a story verbally ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Huey
The Clown was Charles Mingus' second masterpiece in a row, upping the already intense emotional commitment of Pithecanthropus Erectus and burning with righteous anger and frustration. With Pithecanthropus, Mingus displayed a gift for airtight, focused arrangements that nonetheless allowed his players great freedom to add to the established mood of each piece. The Clown refines and heightens that gift; instead of just writing heads that provide launch points for solos, Mingus tries to evoke something specific with every piece, and even his most impressionistic forays have a strong storytelling quality. In fact, The Clown's title cut makes that explicit with a story verbally improvised by Jean Shepherd (yes, the same Jean Shepherd responsible for A Christmas Story) from a predetermined narrative. There are obvious jazz parallels in the clown's descent into bitterness with every unresponsive, mean-spirited audience, but the track is even more interesting for the free improvisations led by trombonist Jimmy Knepper, as the group responds to Shepherd's story and paints an aural backdrop. It's evidence that Mingus' compositional palette was growing more determinedly modern, much like his increasing use of dissonance, sudden tempo changes, and multiple sections. The Clown introduced two of Mingus' finest compositions in the driving, determined "Haitian Fight Song" and the '40s-flavored "Reincarnation of a Lovebird," a peaceful but melancholy tribute to Charlie Parker; Mingus would return to both throughout his career. And, more than just composing and arranging, Mingus also begins to take more of the spotlight as a soloist; in particular, his unaccompanied sections on "Haitian Fight Song" make it one of his fieriest moments ever. Mingus may have matched the urgency of The Clown on later albums, but he never quite exceeded it. [The CD reissue features two bonus tracks recorded at the session and originally released on Tonight at Noon.]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/16/1999
  • Label: Atlantic
  • UPC: 081227559021
  • Catalog Number: 75590

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Charles Mingus Primary Artist, Bass
Jimmy Knepper Trombone
Dannie Richmond Drums, Tambourine
Wade Legge Piano
Jean Shepherd Narrator, Improvisation
Shafi Hadi Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Curtis Porter Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Technical Credits
Charles Mingus Composer
Hugh Brown Art Direction, Reissue Art
Tom Dowd Engineer
Nesuhi Ertegun Producer
Nat Hentoff Liner Notes, Illustrations, Reissue Liner Notes
Geoff Gans Reissue Design
Bob Defrin Art Direction
Rachel Gutek Art Direction, Reissue Art, Reissue Design
Elizabeth Pavone Editorial Coordinator
Bob Carlton Liner Notes
Curtice Taylor Coloring
Marvin Israel Cover Design
Lee Friedlander Cover Photo
Larry Hiller Engineer
Daniel Goldmark Editorial Research
Pickow Cover Photo
John Seabury Illustrations
Daniel Hersch Remastering
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